ACP-EU MPs Overwhelmingly Reject Resolution on Presidential Term Limits
Members of the European Parliament and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) parliamentary group have rejected a motion to impose presidential term limits on member states.
The ongoing ACP-EU joint parliamentary assembly in Nairobi voted against the motion for presidential terms limits, that was being advocated by Members of the European Parliament with support from some members from the ACP.
When the matter was put to vote, 18 countries agreed to vote against the resolution versus nine.
The decision on the resolution comes following lengthy meetings of the Committees of Political Affairs of both the ACP and the European Union, which debated the reports in separate and joint meetings during the session of the assembly that has been meeting in Nairobi, Kenya from December 14.
Uganda’s Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah, who has been strongly opposed to the motion citing sovereignty of countries, said when the vote was taken earlier at committee level, the ACP was not properly constituted and therefore lost the vote.
“We did not have numbers at the committee level; we now have the opportunity at joint assembly. The European side has brought back some amendments, which we rejected at the committee. Let us defeat the whole resolution,” Oulanyah said.
Tulia Ackson from Tanzania, who was the co-rapporteur for the Committee on Political Affairs, said that it would be unfortunate that the whole resolution would be voted down but added that the ACP agrees with the will of the people.
“Constitutions must be respected but these same constitutions can also be changed by the same people,” she added.
The delegates from Mali, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Cape Verde expressed reservation on the decision that was agreed on wondering why there was a change in position at plenary yet they had voted differently at committee level.They said that this was unprecedented in the ACP and would cause a rift among the members.
The co-president of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly Netty Baldeh from Gambia then put the matter to vote and 18 countries agreed to vote against the resolution with nine promising to vote for. The motion for a resolution on constitutional limits on presidential terms was tabled in Brussels in December 2015.
Uganda’s delegation to the ACP-EU meet that ended today in Nairobi also had Cecilia Ogwal(Dokolo), Juliet Kinyamatama(Rakai), Wamanga-Wamai (Mbale Municipality) and William Nokorach(PWDs).
Sure, countries must be sovereign. People should understand that different conditions prevail in these states, therefore, uniformity in policies may not work. Let those who cherish term limits be; likewise those who don’t.